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June 1, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- The Pangos All-American camp came to a close on Sunday afternoon at the Galen Center and the top players at the camp proved their worth as the cream of the crop.
It could be argued that Michael Snaer was the best player and producer at the camp from start to finish.
Snaer has a frame that can carry much more mass up top and carry it well. He already plays with power and strength and adding more bulk is a scary proposition for opposing players in college.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to Snaer at the Pangos camp was his desire to attack the basket more and show his athleticism. Fine-tuning his ball-handling ability is the missing link on the offensive end for the four-star guard.
Snaer's fade away three-pointer off the bounce was one of the prettiest basketball moves on display all weekend long. He was good for 20-points in every game he suited up in and shined in all of the big match-ups he was put into.
With the fat being trimmed away and the best players in the camp getting a chance to play against equal talent in the Top 20 Cream of the Crop game, John Wall decided it was time to open up the game and do what he does best.
Admittedly, Wall didn't necessarily play with his 'A' game for the most part of the camp. On Sunday, he cranked it up a notch and closed out the event better than he started.
The North Carolina speedster did what he's done all spring in the all-star game, putting defenders on their heels and spinning their heads around with his power dribble to the basket.
Slowing down at the right times and taking time to think things out rather than using his physical traits to win individual battles is an area of improvement for the next couple of months on the busy basketball calendar. Overall, it was a good weekend for Wall. However, now that he's at the top of the Rivals.com rankings, he will be graded a little differently than most of his peers.
Joe Burton was fun to watch at the Pangos event. His play was in line with the laid-back spirit of the camp. His passing was on full display both in the halfcourt and as a deep outlet passer. He was one of the best passers in the event from start to finish.
The big man is a rare breed of player. He's big at an estimated 6-feet-7 and 270-pounds but moves quite well for his size, catches everything in the low post and hit a couple of three-pointers in the process.
UCLA point guard Kendall Williams was one of the best point guards of the camp all weekend. The class of 2010 prospect was having a great time in this setting and he played relaxed but focused.
He hit the shots he needed to hit, facilitated the offense and meshed a team of strangers together like a master tailor. Williams is a better athlete than given credit for, too. Overall, it was a great weekend of work for the future Bruin.
The same can be said for future Georgetown wing Hollis Thompson. Consistency was the key for him and the four-star prospect was extremely consistent.
After a lukewarm spring showing, Thompson played very well at the Pangos camp. In fact, he was one of the top six players in the field from the class of 2009.
His jab-step jumper was dialed in on Sunday and he hit in the midrange and from deep with it. The long-armed forward went to work on the glass, too. He is as smooth as they come at the wing position and it was good to see him string together a nice set of strong performances in his hometown.
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Capping off a strong weekend of work was Arizona forward Marcus Ruppel. The 6-foot-7 rising senior hit a high percentage of his perimeter shots and used his height advantage well from the perimeter. He's a definite high-major prospect to monitor and was the biggest surprise of the event from a where-did-he-come-from standpoint. It will be interesting to watch how his list grows and changes over the couple of months.
La Mirada (Calif.) forward Derrick Williams was a solid contributor over the weekend. The 6-foot-7 post from the class of 2009 is a good mid-level prospect that is also on the high-major radar. He's good in the post as a rebounder and close range scorer and popped out for a couple of three-pointers. Williams said Southern Cal, Santa Clara, San Diego, Marquette, Boston College, Nebraska and Tulsa.
NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD
Bak Bak, a 2009 6-foot-8 forward, had an understated camp but important one. He showed a variety of skills in the post that will warrant a closer look by both the mid and high-major schools this summer.
UNLV snatched up Puerto Rican big man Carlos Lopez early in the process and that commitment is a good one. The 6-foot-10 big man is a heck of a pledge for the Running Rebels.
Canadian big man Dwight Powell showed some nice work in the post on Sunday. He has some go-to moves with his back to the basket and shot the ball well from the elbows. The 6-foot-8 prospect from the class of 2010 is at IMG in Florida.